The international break closes this weekend and most players will be back to club training, but it won’t be a relief for some clubs as key players might not make it in time for upcoming games.
West Ham, for one, won’t have Jamaican Michail Antonio, their only senior striker, when they face sixth-tier side Kidderminster Harriers for the FA Cup fourth round on the road tomorrow.
The 31-year-old will jet back to England just a day before the clash, and it is almost impossible that he will line up.
The Hammers boss, David Moyes, was dissatisfied with the packed international schedule that’ll see him miss his forward on Saturday, and possibly on Tuesday against Watford. “It is a terrible situation,” said David.
Though he has nothing against players fulfilling international duties, the Scot thinks they’re overworked, and their not making it on time for club duty is unfair. “…the people who get affected are the players…it’s hardly correct to get a player back at 11am on Friday to play on Saturday,” he lamented.
Antoni’s absence could be fatal as West Ham failed to sign other senior forwards, but they have an impeccable performance record against non-league sides in the competition, so they’ll most probably sail through.
The National League North side have an almost perfect recent home record in FA though. That and the desire to beat a top-tier opponent after last round’s victory against championship side, Reading, could cause Moyes’ boys some trouble.